SAN DIEGO – Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez feels good about the choice he made for his next opponent.

The four-division and reigning undisputed super middleweight champion spent weeks mulling two very lucrative options for his 2022 campaign before opting to return to Matchroom Boxing and DAZN. The first fight under a deal that will guarantee at least two fights—and presently working on a third—will see Alvarez challenge WBA light heavyweight titlist Dmitry Bivol (19-0, 11KOs) atop a May 7 DAZN Pay-Per-View from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

“I like the idea of going back to 175, facing the second-best fighter in that division,” Alvarez told and other reporters during a media scrum to discuss his fight with Bivol. “He’s a champion. For me, it’s the beginning of making history. He’s a good champion.”

The reference to Bivol as the "second-best fighter in that division" acknowledges the status of reigning lineal/WBC/IBF champion Artur Beterbiev (17-0, 17KOs), widely recognized as the best light heavyweight in the world. Beterbiev is currently awaiting confirmation of a fight date for a three-belt unification bout with WBO titlist Joe Smith (28-3, 22KOs). The winner would serve as an appealing future candidate for Alvarez, whether later in the year or for his first fight of 2023. 

Of course, he first has to get past the naturally bigger Bivol at a weight he has fought just once before. Guadalajara’s Alvarez (57-1-2, 39KOs) traveled up to 175 pounds for an eleventh-round knockout of Sergey Kovalev to win the WBO title in November 2019. The Mexican superstar has since spent his last four fights at super middleweight to become the sport’s first-ever undisputed champion at that weight and the first male Latino boxer to earn undisputed championship status at any weight in the three- or four-belt era.

The last of those four fights saw Alvarez—the WBA/WBC/WBO champ at the time—stop unbeaten IBF champion Caleb Plant via eleventh-round knockout last November at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The fight aired on Showtime Pay-Per-View, where Alvarez would have spent his next two fights had he accepted a generous deal offered by Showtime and Premier Boxing Champions (PBC).

Under such an agreement, Alvarez would have next faced WBC middleweight titlist Jermall Charlo (32-0, 22KOs)—who was prepared to move up in weight. A win in that fight would have positioned Alvarez to then meet unbeaten former two-time WBC super middleweight titlist David Benavidez (25-0, 22KOs), should the unbeaten Phoenix native get past David Lemieux in their forthcoming WBC interim super middleweight title fight.

Alvarez instead went with the Matchroom/DAZN deal which he found more appealing for what he aims to still accomplish in the sport. With win on May 7, Alvarez will then enter a third fight with Gennadiy Golovkin (41-1-1, 36KOs), who first has to get past Ryota Murata in their upcoming IBF/WBA middleweight title unification bout April 9 in Saitama, Japan.

First and foremost is the fight in his immediate future, which Alvarez firmly believes is the most dangerous option among the four names mentioned between the two offered deals.

“That’s why I pick him,” insisted Alvarez. “He’s a good fighter. He has something to offer. He’s a champion, he’s bigger than me and he’s a good fighter. I like that. He’s a better fighter than these guys.”

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox